Emersyn “Em” Brown is an eleven-year-old and from North Ansgar, Iowa. She loves sports - basketball and football especially. She was playing traveling basketball last year when she started complaining, getting tired, and turning white while playing. In February 2018, blood tests were done, and the results were abnormal. At the time, the ten-year-old was sent to Rochester for more testing, and on 3/2/18, she was diagnosed with B cell ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia), where she was hospitalized for the first 30 days. It was later determined she had Philadelphia B cell ALL with abnormal chromosomes. Treatment had to be started right away, as the cancer type is high risk. She was put on a bone marrow transplant list, and in August was matched. She received the transplant in September. She was in and out of the hospital (total of 82 days inpatient) and has stayed in Rochester at the Ronald McDonald House almost all the remaining days, with just a couple trips home. She was supposed to head home around Christmas but couldn’t due to the number of complications from the transplant. Two months later, she remains at the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester.
The For a Day team got involved because one of our past family recipients, Miss Lila, became very close with Emersyn during their time together at hospitals and the Ronald McDonald House, and recommended the family reach out to us. Lila was the recipient of the Miss MN shopping spree in the fall of 2018. Though the two couldn’t have bonded any more, they also couldn’t have been any different in their interests. Lila is all about fashion, beauty and shopping, while Emersyn is all about sports and competition.
Emersyn especially loves basketball. As we learned this, it was our mission to create a special day in the world of basketball. Several of the For a Day committee members are from a small community from which Carlie Wagner hails – NRHEG. Carlie is the greatest basketball player the community has ever seen and went on to become a legend with the Minnesota Gophers basketball team, also. Carlie pulled off quite the feat. She secured ten seats for Emersyn and her parents and friends from school, one of whom she hadn’t seen for almost a year because of her sickness, and that alone was a memorable moment. She also secured some special treatment while at the game, detailed a bit later.
For a Day Foundation of Southern MN provided a limo for the ten family members and friends to go to the game at Williams Arena on Sunday, February 17th. It happened to be the annual “Play for Kay” game. honoring those with cancer, where the group was met by Carlie herself. Carlie graciously took everyone to some neat places to see in the Arena, took a number of pictures and even sat with the group for the entire game. Em hooked onto Carlie like she was her big sister. Carlie is quite popular in that setting and it was fun to have a ton of people approaching our section and requesting autographs and pictures with Carlie. Em felt pretty privileged.
Carlie then had the Gopher marketing folks do a special presentation with Em and her parents on the court during the 3rd quarter break. Her bio was read over all the speakers and Em was able to throw basketballs into the audience. She was a star, for sure.
Em and her family were then brought down into the locker room where she got to participate in the game/team meeting and take pictures with the entire team, and with Coach Lindsay Whalen – who we found out was truly Em’s idol.
The entire day was magical – getting out of the Ronald McDonald House for a day, riding in a limo, meeting Carlie, Lindsay and the entire Gopher ladies’ team and spending time with family and friends.
We have received numerous messages from those involved: from Carlie’s mom who said Carlie is still humbled by this experience, from Em’s mom, dad and step parents for the amazing day their daughter had and from people on Facebook who “liked, shared, and commented”! It’s a day no one will forget!!
Em’s 1-year anniversary is March 3rd. We’re all praying she is home to celebrate that day. We were informed late last week they doctors have hope she will be leaving the week of 2/25/19!!
For a Day Foundation of Southern MN